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The vast majority of envelope files we get from customers is perfect. Our clients really know their stuff, as far as postal regulations go, and they’re conversant in the wide variety of envelopes, standard and custom, regular or window, that can be ordered. Plus, our Customer Service specialists are always ready to help with any questions about available stock options.​


But…what do you do when manufacturers change their construction without notice? (the words “Industry Standard” might as well be a foreign language to some of these suppliers.) Glue size and position, as well as throat or flap size or shape can vary drastically from one manufacturer to another. And these are STANDARD envelopes, mind you.


Or…what if you’re not sure whether the copy you put on the back will fit on the flap or not?


Here are a couple of good hints in designing the Perfect Envelope:


  1. To get started, click on our Prepress Templates link here, and download any or our PDF templates of the standard envelopes that we use every day.

  2. You can place these templates into an InDesign or QuarkXPress document, for example, lock them into position and start building your design right over the top.

  3. A really good rule of thumb is to try to keep copy at least 1/4” away from any edges. Remember that the industry standard (there’s that term again!) is to allow 1/8” jump in any direction. You want to circumvent the possibility of your copy hitting the edge by pulling it back away from the edge.

  4. With copy, Less is More. Try not to jam too much information onto an envelope. Not only do most people ignore text that’s too verbose, you also (again) run the risk of your copy running too close to the edge. Try to distill your copy to only the most essential text.

  5. If you ask for spot color, try your best to make sure that all text and graphics are in a spot PMS color.

  6. We can accept copy that’s scanned, but copy should be supplied that looks as clean, sharp and high resolution as possible.

  7. Graphics and reversed boxes are great visual treats, and can add a lot of punch to your envelope. Try not to make them too big or too solid, as heavy coverage can promote ink smearing.

  8. Speaking of heavy coverage, here’s another weird tip: the seams on the back of the envelope could actually cause chaos with the ink on the front. Plan accordingly!  Side seam envelopes help take care of this eventuality.


And again, when all else fails, don’t hesitate to call our Customer Service or Prepress Departments for specific information. We’re here to help!


Coming up Next: Why Did I Get that Proof?

Designing the Perfect Envelope



Do you have a nagging technical problem you’d

love us to address?

We’re here to help!


Contact the Shipman Prepress Department at

(800) 462-2114
ext. 105 

or email us at
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